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Braving the Elements Planning, Maintenance Key to Preserving s Building's Exterior

In real estate, as in life, first impressions are everything. It certainly holds true for condominiums. Whether it’s a high-rise or part of a community of homes, a building and the way it looks can speak volumes not only to outsiders but to the individuals and families living within its walls. That’s one of the many reasons why maintaining an attractive and functional building exterior or façade can be so important.

Many factors can contribute to the deterioration of a building’s exterior. Happily, though, there are nearly an equal number of actions that can be taken to preserve and protect those facades and envelopes.

Beaten Down

In New England, the topic of weather is one that never gets old. Frigid temperatures, significant snowfalls and the punishing presence of sunshine, rain, wind and sleet means that weather plays a role in every community association in the region. New Englanders are used to enduring even the harshestconditions. Sometimes, though, their buildings may not be.

When it comes to the health and well-being of a residential building, freeze-thaw cycles can be brutal, says Ralph Noblin, president of Noblin & Associates, L.C., a consulting engineering firm based in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. “There is so much moisture in the Boston area,” Noblin says. “Boston does not have a dry season.” In the winter months, when water embeds itself into building materials, temperatures dip below freezing and that water turns to ice, it can cause significant damage. “Ice has tremendous expansive powers,” Noblin says.

Sun, and more specifically, ultravioletradiation (UV) also can cause major damage to the aesthetics and integrity of an exterior. “Everywhere in the country, UV degradation takes its toll,” Noblin says. “If it’s an exterior that’s painted, it’ll fade. Wood will shrink and split.”

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